10 great underrated and "lost" singles by the biggest artists

14 May 2024, 10:59

The Jam, The Stone Roses and David Bowie - let's dig into their back catalogue!
The Jam, The Stone Roses and David Bowie - let's dig into their back catalogue! Picture: Kim Sayer / Pictorial Press Ltd / Trinity Mirror / Mirrorpix / Alamy Stock Photo

Sometimes singles just fall through the cracks - they either appear between albums or are overlooked for bigger hits. Let's celebrate the underdogs!

Radio X

By Radio X

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  1. David Bowie - DJ

    "I am the DJ, I am what I play" Bowie's catalogue is littered with gems, but this single from the 1979 album Lodger is often overlooked. It's a tribute to the king of the disco, or even the radio presenter, but would soon become even more significant with the rise of clubland. Great video, too, but the song only made No 29 in the charts and tends to get left off the compilations.

    David Bowie - DJ (Official Video)

  2. The Stone Roses - Elephant Stone

    A transitional single between the old traditional indie of Sally Cinnamon and the all-conquering psychedelic music of the band's debut album, this one-off single was produced by New Order's Peter Hook in 1988. It received a new lease of life in 1990 when the Roses' back catalogue was plundered in lieu of new material.

    The Stone Roses - "Elephant Stone"

  3. Nirvana - Pennyroyal Tea

    Pencilled in as a single in April 1994, this track from In Utero was quickly pulled from release in the wake of Kurt Cobain's death and only a few copies snuck out. It was eventually released as a single 20 years later, for Record Store Day 2014.

    Nirvana - Pennyroyal Tea

  4. Blur - Popscene

    Casting off their "baggy" roots, this one-off single from 1992 saw the band toying with grungy rock, before they decided to head down their own path with the burgeoning Britpop sounds of Parklife. An early version of the Pavement-style Blur tunes like Song 2.

    Blur - Popscene

  5. Arctic Monkeys - Matador

    This track was released on a limited edition that snuck out in the wake of the band's second album Favourite Worst Nightmare in 2007. It also appeared on a Japanese edition of the album.

    1 - Matador - Arctic Monkeys

  6. Radiohead - Prove Yourself

    Everyone thinks that the first Radiohead single was Creep, but it was preceded in May 1992 by the Drill EP that featured demos recorded by the band when they were still known as On A Friday. This was the lead track and was later re-recorded for the Pablo Honey album. How grunge is this?

    [1992] Drill (EP) - 01 Prove Yourself - Radiohead

  7. The Charlatans - Over Rising

    Released in February 1991, this single didn't appear on an album until the band's compilation Melting Pot, seven years later. An underrated early classic from the Charlatans.

    The Charlatans - Over Rising HD

  8. The Jam - When You're Young

    A non-album single from August 1979, released between the albums All Mod Cons and Setting Sons. It's one of the mod trio's less familiar hits.

    The Jam - When You're Young

  9. Manic Street Preachers - Suicide Alley

    The Manics' debut single from the tail end of 1988, it was overshadowed by the follow-up Motown Junk, a track that still features in the band's setlist to this day. The group's obsession with The Clash is evident here, but the track didn't find a place on their greatest hits album, Forever Delayed.

    Suicide Alley

  10. Muse - Overdue

    The lead track from their self-titled debut EP from 1998, Overdue was later re-recorded for Muse's debut album, Showbiz.

    Muse EP - Overdue